Recently we had an unsettling airport experience at Phuket, mainly because all passengers had to get both their hand luggage and their suitcases searched. I was nervous because I had bought some “valium” from a pharmacy on Bangala Road and tossed it inside an empty vitamin bottle which now lay at the bottom of my suitcase. I hefted my bag up onto the counter and unzipped it, trying to act casual.“You have firework?” the Thai man said, patting my dirty underpants and wet swimmers.
“Have a nice fliiiiiiiiight.”
In addition to the luggage search, we were subjected to four security checkpoints, where at each one I was forced to throw out all the bottled water I had purchased since the previous check. By the time we boarded the plane, I had thrown away seven fully-sealed bottles of water and I was pretty pissed. Ryan had paid for all the water, so he was a little more pissed.
A few rows ahead of us, a young blonde woman fussed around her bags as her husband held their 6-month old baby, who immediately burst into tears. In any other situation, people would tsk tsk affectionately and smile sympathetically at the couple. “Babies will be babies!” you would tell them. But on a plane, the mood is different. To carry a crying baby onto an international flight is the fastest way to make 300+ people passionately hate you. There were several babies on this flight, and they were all beginning to wail.
“Ughhhhhhh,” I moaned, rifling through my backpack for a pair of ear plugs.
“They’re like dogs,” the man beside me observed, “As soon as one starts howlin’, they just set off all the other fuckers.”
“Why doesn’t she put it in the overhead locker?” Ryan said.
For the next nine and a half hours, the blonde lady paced up and down the aisle while her baby screamed. Every time I nodded off, she would pass our row and wake me up. I began to fantasise, unashamedly, about ways to kill the baby.
By the time we reached Sydney, the mother looked as though she had experienced the longest nine hours of her life. Again, under normal circumstances, I would have felt sorry for her. But I didn’t. Because thanks to her, I had now been awake for two days. And also, because even though I don’t have children, I can give totally advice on how to travel with them.
Tips on how to travel with a baby
1. Don’t take it on a plane
Just don’t. At least not on an overnight flight. Babies don’t like planes. They will probably cry when they are forced to get on one. That tiny person who has no inhibitions, isn’t toilet trained, can’t equalise their ears, and is probably terrified because they don’t understand what the hell is going on? Just take them on a road trip this year, because when you get on a plane with them, everybody hates you. So you don’t get to go to Fiji this year, tough shit. The baby won’t know the difference between a trip to Fiji and a cardboard box. Plus, it’ll probably be more fun for you in a few years time once the kid is a less of a fucking nightmare to travel with.
I’ve spoken to several okay-seeming mothers who have doped their babies on flights and so far none of them have stutters or eat cat biscuits. Not only will sedating your child spare all the other passengers from nine hours of torture, but the kid will get a good buzz out of it too.
If you ignore number 1 and 2, and your baby is upset about being on the plane (which is likely, as explained in number 1), just go sit in the toilet. Sure, it’s probably not the most pleasant place to spend a flight, but your baby is clearly already hating everything about this experience. What’s it going to do, cry?
If you’re a parent, you’re probably reading this and getting all bent out of shape because I don’t have kids. You probably think that bringing a baby on a plane is fine, maybe it even adds a bit of excitement to an otherwise uneventful ten hours. But you have crossed over. Try to cast your mind back to before you had a kid and gave up on personal comfort. And if you absolutely must fly with a baby, make it a day-time flight. That way, even though you’re still annoying the shit out of everyone, they were probably going to be awake anyway. Getting on a 10pm international flight with a shrieking baby means you are really going to fuck up everyone for the next two days. We know it’s not fun for you either, but you are better equipped to deal with the sleep deprivation and noise torture, because you love your child. Nobody else does.
Pilates teacher: You have what we call a “floppy” body.
Yogi: Your hips are really…open.
Personal trainer: You don’t have a lot of fat on you – it just all happens to be on your arms.
During a recent school night session with some old co-workers, the conversation turned to growing up and childhood pastimes.
Claire: So I named my budgies Popcorn and Peanuts, and when they died, I buried them in my fairy garden.
Me: What the hell is a fairy garden?
Claire: You didn’t have a fairy garden?
Julia: I guess your parents just didn’t love you enough.
Claire: If it makes you feel any better, my parents eventually turned my fairy garden into a Japanese stone garden.
Me: No, that doesn’t make me feel better. I hate all your North Shore problems. I played with empty cardboard boxes and tupperware containers as a child. I didn’t even know what a Barbie was until I started school. I had a sandpit full of dirt and everything I owned was a hand-me-down of some kind from my brother.
Julia: Is that why you dress badly?
Me: Fuck you.
Too many of my conversations like this. I still want that fairy garden though.
According to the internet, this is what I missed out on.
Ugh. My parents were soooo mean. My mother had me convinced that raw cookie dough tasted like medicine until I was old enough to wonder why she was eating it all herself if it was so gross.
Did you have a fairy garden? Or were your parents bad people too? What is the phone number for DOCS?
Me: I got new jeans today. Size six!
Ryan: That’s weird.
Me: I know, usually I’m an eight.
Ryan: Well, I would have said a ten…
Ryan: This girl said that being friends with me is like childbirth. At the time, you’re like, “This is the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced, it’s horrible and I just want it to be over.” But then afterwards, you’re glad you did it.
Me: That’s pretty accurate.
Me: So did you pick up on the Gold Coast?
Ryan: Nah. Chicks up there won’t talk to you if you don’t have any tattoos, or if you’re wearing a shirt with sleeves. And usually I have to get by on my intellect and charm, because I’m not really that good-lookng. I’m sure you have the same problem.
On seeing a bunch of hipsters on Crown Street.
Ryan: What is with the way people dress these days? When did it become cool to go out wearing your mum’s cardigan? It’s like they just go roll around in a Smith Family clothing bin and crawl out wearing whatever sticks to them. They’re like, “I’ve got a dirty nappy on my shoulder, that’s how fucking hip I am. That’s not even fake poo, that’s real poo.” Losers.
Ryan: You’re funny. And not just for a girl, but for a person too.
Me: I am a person.
Ryan: Yeah, with a humour-killing uterus.
Me: Come to yoga with me.
Ryan: Will there be chicks there?
Ryan: I can’t sit there grunting and sweating while wearing skin-tight lycra pants in front of a bunch of chicks.
Me: You don’t have to wear lycra.
Ryan: Fuck, Annik, if I’m going to do yoga, I’m going to do it properly.
Ryan: John and I came up with the best pick-up line. You go up to a girl and say, “Hey, do you want my number?” Before she has time to answer, you say, “Of course you do.” Then you hand her your number and say, “Why don’t you give me a call later, when you’re not acting like such a bitch.”
Ryan: We should download a bunch of female stand-up comedy and then turn it into a drinking game. Every time they make a period joke, we chug.
Me: I don’t know what to do about this weird chick.
Ryan: Skelty, this is all I’m going to say: once, a guy threw a lemon tree in my bed while I was asleep in it, and I never saw him again. Know what I mean?
Ryan: When I was a kid, I dated the hottest girl in school. It was right before she got anorexia, when a girl reaches her absolute peak of hotness. Like when she’s still eating, but right before she gives up celery.
Me: I saw an infographic on semen today. Did you know there are 20 calories in a load?
Ryan: That would explain why that girl I hooked up with on the weekend was so fat.
Me: And did you know that sperm can live inside a woman for 5 days, or on a toilet seat for 3 hours?
Ryan: What about on a girl’s face?
Matt: My roomie is on her way with a friend.
Ryan: Is her friend hot?
Matt: Kind of.
Ryan: Dude, I can’t talk to a hot girl right now. I’m about to eat pudding.
Ryan: Nice boots, Skelty. Are you going to a rodeo later?
Me: Shut up.
Ryan: I’m sorry. Seriously, you look really nice tonight….from the ankles up, anyway.
Ryan: You haven’t blogged about me lately.
Me: You need to say more funny things first.
Ryan: Have you not been listening?
Me: Will it be weird if it’s just the two of us at dinner?
Ryan: Nah, that’s cool. You’ll get to experience what it’s like to go on a date with me, except I won’t try and finger you behind the restaurant after we’ve eaten.
Ryan: How was your day?
Me: Eh… I was a bit depressed this morning.
Ryan: Was it because you knew you were going to wear that outfit tonight?
Me: Check out that figure skater!
Him: I could never have sex with her. She’s too graceful. It would be like putting tomato sauce on a really nice steak.
Me: Damnit, my pants shrank.
Him: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, I just got them out of the dryer.
Him: Maybe you’ve put on weight.
Me: I haven’t put on weight. These pants fit perfectly yesterday, now they’re too tight. Clearly, they’ve shrunk.
Him: They look the same to me. That’s all I’m saying.
Him (on the phone): Hey, I’m just at the pub with Annik. Yeah, she’s right next to me. What’s she wearing? Well she’s got what appears to be a curtain wrapped around her waist, tied with a piece of cheap rope; a faded non-descript black singlet; and sunglasses that definitely cost less than $15. In fact, I’m pretty sure she found them on the side of the road.
Him: I literally have nothing to wear. All my clothes are in the wash.
Me: You can borrow one of my shirts, if you want?
Him: It’s okay, all your stuff is too man-ish anyway.
Me: And my UAI is…wow.
Mum: What is it?
Me: Almost ninety-five.
Mum: Well that can’t be right!
Dad: Maybe you should give the Board of Studies a call?